Canada is set to impose a ban on the usage of equipment from the Chinese tech companies Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp for in the country’s 5G network with the aim of national security. With this move, Canada joins the rest of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network.
“We intend to exclude Huawei and ZTE from our 5G networks,” Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told reporters in Ottawa. “Providers who already have this equipment installed will be required to cease its use and remove it under the plans we’re announcing today.”
Companies who do not remove their 5G equipment by June 2024 will not be paid, according to Champagne. By the end of 2027, companies who use 4G equipment must remove it.
The widely anticipated decision had been postponed due to diplomatic concerns with China. The equipment has already been outlawed by the remainder of the Five Eyes network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Canada first declared in September 2018 that it would look into the potential national security risks of using Huawei technology.
Then, in December of that year, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada on a US warrant, sparking a long-running conflict with China that was finally resolved last September when Meng was released.
Following Meng’s detention, Beijing detained two Canadians and charged them with espionage. Meng was released on the same day as the two men.
China and Canada’s diplomatic tensions have now calmed substantially. China lifted a three-year ban on Canadian canola seed imports on Wednesday, reversing a measure seen as retaliation for Meng’s detention.
The decision comes after Canadian telecom operators chose to employ 5G hardware from other vendors.
The supposed security concerns, according to a spokesperson for China’s embassy in Canada, are a “pretext for political manipulation,” and Canada is cooperating with the US to stifle Chinese firms.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Alykhan Velshi, Huawei’s vice president of corporate affairs in Canada, said the business is still waiting to hear “what kind of national security dangers they think Huawei poses.”
Huawei still employs 1,500 people in Canada, largely in research and development, and sells products such as cellphones, according to Velshi.
There was no comment on the issue available from ZTE.
Despite employing Huawei 4G equipment, Bell Canada and rival Telus Corp signed up with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Oyj to create fifth-generation (5G) telecoms networks in 2020, abandoning Huawei for the project.
Along with the ban, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced that new legislation would be drafted to protect important financial, telecommunications, energy, and transportation infrastructure from cyber attacks.
(Adapted from CNN.com)